ECS held their LIVE, LIVA, LEAD, L337 press event this week in Silicon Valley and ThinkComputers was on hand to check it all out. ECS has a new direction and it seems like they are focusing on bringing the custom the best value they can for the price. They were showing off their unreleased Z97I-Drone mini-ITX gaming motherboard.
This motherboard is part of ECS’s L337 Gaming line and features a black PCB with gold accents on the heatsink. The board feature’s Intel’s LGA1150 socket that supports Intel’s 4th and 5th generation Haswell processors. There is a 5-phase hybrid digital PWM that makes use of the Intersil PWM IC, dual advanced MOSFETs, Icy chokes and Japanese capacitors.
When it comes to expansion there is a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot as well as a M.2 slot, but the M.2 slot can only be used for a WiFi or Bluetooth module, not storage. Storage comes by the way of five SATA 6GB/s ports and there is also a USB 3.0 port at the top of the board. There are two DDR3 DIMM slots that support DDR3 memory up to DDR3-3000 (O.C.). There is also 8-channel audio with SoundBlaster Cinema2 powered by the Realtek ALC1150.
The rear I/O is made up of four USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, Intel Gigabit Ethernet and 8-channel + optical audio.
The Z97I-Drone is expected to be available next month and will retail right around $100.